We learned the hard way on this front.
Our initial introduction to CBD was due to a brutal perimenopause. That story is here.
Progesterone is a powerful calming agent for immune response including mast cells and it drops by 50% at age 40.
Risk of MCAS, autoimmune, etc all rise during our 40's with a much higher clip for women as progesterone leaves the scene.
So…I was on DAO, avoid all foods, skincare products, etc protocol and still remained wide awake at night (histamine is excitatory in the brain - eats up GABA, our natural "brake" pedal).
I tried 3 to 4 of the biggest CBD brands since the research was so promising and had…histamine reactions to all of them.
Nausea, clicking in the back of the throat, skin irritation. The usual.
Turns out that there are definite requirements for CBD to actually match the research and that is not what is being sold on the market!
We'll look at the key points here:
- Full-spectrum versus CBD isolate for MCAS
- Base oil requirements
- Processing requirements
- CBD levels matching research for MCAS
- 3rd party testing
- Cost of CBD to match research on MCAS
Based on research!
Full-spectrum versus CBD isolate for MCAS
This is the big one. It's the reason people try CBD and have bad reactions.
Most of the market is pushing "full" or "broad" spectrum.
Essentially, this is more plant matter, other cannabinoids, and even a small percentage (if legal hemp) of THC.
This is where so many people go wrong.
Keep in mind that many of the chemicals that brands are singing praises for are substances that plants naturally use to ward off pests.
Sure, they can individually have benefits but not at the levels found in generic hemp oil.
More importantly, that research is not on MCAS!
Just look at the reviews on our site on the product pages. People speak to the effects on histamine directly!
CBD isolate is just CBD. We add it to MCT oil from organic coconut. Hemp oil can also trigger histamine response so MCT is the cleanest approach since it's an extract.
We have a massive review on CBD versus full spectrum for histamine here: CBD isolate versus full spectrum with the supporting research.
As for the other cannabinoids, the profile is quite different than that of CBD.
CBD acts as a feedback mechanism on the immune response. Not just up or down.
This is important because we don't want to build tolerance.
Technically, it's called an allosteric positive modulator…feedback player!
THC is another known mast cell player. 75% of people who have histamine issues are allergic to THC.
This is interesting considering that THC suppresses the immune response. The histamine pathway still sees it as a foreign entity that's pushing CB1 (the receptor that anandamide plugs into) too hard and for too long.
Remember…mast cells respond to pathogens (viruses and bacteria, etc) AND chemicals that are deemed foreign or drive important pathways out of balance.
Anything that the body wants to get out…FAST.
The research on CBD and mast cells is strong. That's research on CBD by itself…isolate. That's why we focus there…our journey was riddled with mast cell issues.
Let's turn to the base oil.
Base oil requirements
You have three standard oils for CBD:
- MCT or coconut
- Olive oil
Hemp and olive are great oils but not if you're dealing with MCAS.
There are too many plant constituents for our heightened immune system to respond to.
We focus on MCT since it's an extract from coconut oil.
Essentially, it's a simple mix of medium-chained fats.
Fats are essential as a building block of your cells and even steroidal hormones! Remember the progesterone connection.
They also help more of the CBD get past the liver since they use the same p450 pathways to metabolize.
After a meal (with fat) also helps this process and can boost bioavailability by 4x's.
With the oils, you can hold it under your tongue for up to 60 seconds to boost it even further.
Or course, organic is key there for the oil supply and we adhere to that.
What about the processing?
There are two main ways to extract CBD from industrial hemp (the technical term for legal product).
- CO2 processing (cold)
- Petroleum burning (hot) such as with butane
The first is the clean way to go.
It's almost impossible to not have petroleum residue in the finished product that's processed via the "hot" approach.
Sure, it's a small part per million but it's not zero.
You don't want any contaminants with MCAS. Our immune system is hyperactivated…just looking for nasty chemical hitchhikers.
We process with cold CO2.
There's a way to see what else is in the product.
3rd party testing
If a brand doesn't have 3rd party testing, run don't walk.
It's literally the litmus test for a legitimate product.
We test every batch for the following:
- CBD levels
- Other cannabinoid levels
- Heavy metals
The 3rd party testing should be readily available.
We literally have ours at the top of EVERY page. No hiding. No reason to.
Next up…the biggest issue with CBD on the market for MCAS.
CBD levels matching research for MCAS
We have probably 1+ million words of research and reviews on this site. Check the blog listing (search up top) and search for something.
The biggest problem with CBD on the market is…CBD levels.
There are so many bottles (30ml) out there with 250 or 500mg total for the bottle.
At 250 mg, that's about 8mg per full dropper. Goodness. You're better off just getting olive oil.
Research on CBD runs from 160mg (sleep - a key tie-in with histamine; see histamine and insomnia) to 600-800mg for more serious issues.
Peak neurogenesis (brain repair and rewiring; the key to mental health or addiction) is at 300mg daily.
For MCAS, we're looking at a hybrid approach depending on how severe an issue is.
Similar to opioid withdrawal research which reflects a significant imbalance in that system.
Instead of opioids, substitute immune (both are affected the same way by CBD with the immune response being more robust since it's so complicated).
For the first 10 days, 600mg daily - that's 3 droppers of the 6000mg bottle.
Day 11-30 - 300mg daily - that's 1 1/2 droppers of the 6000mg bottle.
Beyond that period, adjust according to need. The lowest level that matches any research would be around 50mg daily.
Again, hold under your tongue, and after meals is ideal. We want as much CBD to get past the liver as possible.
With this, look at the following tools:
- Magnesium glycinate - natural stress response buffer and mast cell calming agent
- Vitamin D (get levels tested) - it's a monster immune/mast cell manager
- Berberine - gut is key inflammatory "thermometer" for the immune system at large
- Progesterone (for women) - there's no band-aiding low progesterone; get tested and bioidentical
- Medicinal mushrooms - rebalances the immune system where histamine resides
I can now eat peppers and other foods that were completely impossible before. It's really important to get to the root of why your immune system (which controls mast cells) is so heightened.
We dive deeper into that at our natural ways to stabilize mast cells or the early trauma and inflammation.
Newer research is really interesting on how early infection or trauma can hyperactivate your immune response throughout life.
Medicinal mushrooms are also fascinating in their ability to re-tune the immune system.
If we're talking about levels at 300mg, etc, there's then the question of cost.
Cost of CBD to match research on MCAS.
The key metric here is the cost per mg of CBD.
We price our 6000mg bottles at 2-3 cents per mg before discounts up to 50%.
The other big issue with CBD is there are lots of bandwagon types who are ripping people off (usually with shoddy product as well).
Let us know if you can find better-priced, high-quality CBD isolate with testing anywhere.
Again, 16 mg of CBD does not match research…it's just a way for unscrupulous actors to profit off of the interest on CBD.
Be well. Take care of each other. Take care of yourself.
Let us know if any questions come up via the chat option to the right. We love to help people understand their options and get the best research targeted to them.
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.